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1 }w!"#$%&'()+,-./012345<ya MASARYK UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF INFORMATICS E-learning support of the course PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business DIPLOMA THESIS Bc. Anna Vaníková Brno, 2012

2 Declaration Hereby I declare, that this paper is my original authorial work, which I have worked out by my own. All sources, references and literature used or excerpted during elaboration of this work are properly cited and listed in complete reference to the due source. Advisor: RNDr. Zdenko Staníček, Ph.D. ii

3 Acknowledgement I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, RNDr. Zdenko Staníček, Ph.D., for his support, consultations, comments and supervision during my work on the thesis. I wish to thank my boss and AVG Technologies for the tolerance with my studies. Special thanks go to my boyfriend for absolutely everything. Thanks a lot, Ďu. Last but not least, I would like to thank my family for their support and encouragement that made my thesis possible. iii

4 Abstract The thesis analyzes the phenomenon of the e-learning education. Goal of this diploma thesis is to examine what is e-learning, what are its characteristics and how it can be used on the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University. The diploma thesis consists of two parts. In the first part, concept of e-learning is reviewed. E-learning system, e-learning entities and their relationships are described by the conceptual model and the use case diagrams. In the second part of this thesis, practical e-learning solution is designed in order to prove theoretical solution constructed in the first step. Prior to the implementation of the particular e-learning course, specific requirements for this course are analyzed. An appropriate Virtual Learning Environment for the course is chosen with respect to this knowledge. Course PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business was chosen to be implemented into the e-learning environment. This implementation could resolve problems with missing tutor for the course, which occurred in the past. As a practical output of the thesis, functional e-learning environment is implemented for the course Marketing Strategy in Service Business and modifications in the structure, materials, the teaching method and the way of evaluation of the course are proposed. iv

5 Keywords e-learning, Moodle, PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business, conceptual model, use case, LMS, VLE, Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Management Systems v

6 Contents 1 Introduction The e-learning What is e-learning? Bright side of the e-learning E-learning challenges Conclusion E-learning tools Virtual Learning Environment LMS and LCMS tools Few examples of LMS E-learning course models Conceptual data model Use case diagrams Preparation of an e-learning course Best practices Audience Time Absence of live tutoring Course outputs Tools Context Seven key decision factors for selecting e-learning Seven key aspects of service system Design of the e-learning course Marketing Strategy in Service Business Best practices Audience Time Absence of live tutoring Course outputs Tools Context Seven key decision factors Seven key aspects of service system E-learning course implementation vi

7 7.1 Motivation Roles and responsibilities Course implementation Time and place Critical factors of success Communication Feedback and continuous improvement Users approach Conclusion A Appendix vii

8 Chapter 1 Introduction We need to bring learning to people instead of people to learning. Elliott Masie, Masie Center We learn all our lives. Ability to learn is one of the most important skills in human history and in the whole process of evolution. Nowadays, learning capability is also very important in the job market. There are a lot of new positions, which did not exist before, emerging every year. With further growth of the technology, our skills have to be continuously improved, even our mindsets are modified. We can learn from many different resources and use different learning styles. E-learning is one of the ways how a person can gain knowledge. E-learning is a very fashionable word today, a lot of schools, including kindergarten, are proud of having e-learning courses and interactive study materials. Despite having really widespread adoption, e-learning in many cases struggle for quality. Professor Rob Koper from Educational Technology Expertise Center sees the main e-learning problems in the lack of good models and theories and lack of sustainable approaches to the e-learning [1]. As a big enthusiast of e-learning and using the Internet in the education process, I would like to explore e-learning phenomenon in order to define a frame for a good e-learning course. To prove a usability of the proposed solution, designed model is implemented to the course PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business. There are two reasons, why this particular course was chosen. The first reason is, there is no tutor available for this course at the Faculty of Informatics in Brno, but there are people widespread, which are experts in this field and with e-learning system they could teach the course, e.g. marketing specialists in partner University in Porto, Portugal. Therefore, while in other courses, an e-learning system would be the supplementary feature of the course, in the course Marketing Strategy in Service Business the e-learning environment could significantly help with course run. The second reason for choosing this particular course is theme of the marketing. In today s world, word marketing is often misused and it is understood as something which tricks people and lies to make them buy things they do not need. I am really convinced that the real marketing is an art and I would really like to help to change the negative perception on it by helping with marketing course and increasing awareness of marketing topic. 1

9 1. INTRODUCTION The thesis consists of eight chapters. The first chapter contains an introduction to the theme. The second chapter of the thesis explains concept of an e-learning, its main characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. In the third chapter, the most important terminology concerning e-learning systems and tools is explained. Terms from this chapter are used throughout the whole thesis. If we want to understand the e-learning domain, we have to identify the objects which the e-learning is composed of and relationships between these objects. These objects and relationships between them are described in conceptual data model in chapter four. To not only understand an e-learning structure, but also examine behavior of examined domain, use case diagrams were added to the chapter. The fifth chapter deals with the design of an e-learning course in general. The chapter consists of three parts. The first part describes the best practices which can be used in e- learning. The second part is methodological view of e-learning according to Huddlestone and Pike. The last part of this chapter is considering an e-learning system from a service system perspective. The Diamond of Predictive Behavior is used to this purpose as a conceptual reference model of service system. Next chapter consists of the same parts as the chapter five, all theoretical knowledge is used in the praxis for the design of the e-learning course Marketing Strategy in Service Business. The seventh chapter contains information about the e-learning course implementation. Standard questions like: Why? (section Motivation), Who? (section Roles and responsibilities), What? (section Course implementation), When and where? (section Time and place) and How? (sections Critical factors of success), are answered in the chapter. The last chapter contains the conclusion of the thesis and few recommendations for the course run. The appendix of the thesis contains the most often scenarios for the tutor in e-learning. The tutor is able to use this step by step manual in the particular actions in the e-learning system. The appendix contains screenshots of the system when fulfilling particular tasks. 2

10 Chapter 2 The e-learning 2.1 What is e-learning? The rapid development of a new industry, such as that pertaining to e-learning, inevitably leads to a large amount of new, recycled and often inconsistent use of terminology. Even the term e-learning is problematic [2]. Although the term e-learning is quite ambiguous, not so easy to be exactly defined and there exists a lot of slightly different explanations for the word e-learning, the basic idea is the same. E-learning simply means online access to learning resources, anywhere and anytime [3]. E-learning is learning with no need for direct human contact and supervision and using the electronic devices and machines instead. These devices can be used either as a place for sharing learning materials or as a substitute for a tutor. Good e-learning requires various types of engagement from a learner. Key practices and skills are illustrated in the petals of the e-learning flower on the picture 2.1. E-learning has a lot of positive, but also some negative features and characteristics. When designing an e-learning course, a person has to be aware of these qualities to use them to one s advantage and minimize the negative aspect of this approach. 2.2 Bright side of the e-learning The main advantage of e-learning and distance education is availability. An e-learning course is not dependant on the place. No special room for students is needed, as they are learning in their homes or anywhere else. Some parts of the e-learning course (study materials, tests or exercises) can also be available anytime students decide to learn something new. E-learning is a way of connecting modern knowledge together. Using this way of learning, a knowledge base is built across all cultures without any borders or restrictions. Other advantage of e-learning is the fact that the distance education is a new form of learning and it is getting more popular among young people who are familiar with IT and other new technologies (mobile phones and applications... ). This type of education can be more interesting and motivating for this group of learners and thus more informative and beneficial. Distance education can be positive not only for students, but for lecturers and tutors too. E-learning allows a teacher to be creative and use a lot of interactive materials, to combine different sources, different types of learning materials and styles, practice different sets 3

11 2. THE E-LEARNING Figure 2.1: A flower petal framework (non-hierachical) for e-learning practices and skills [3] of learner s skills (for example various skills already mentioned in picture 2.1). Moreover, e-learning support systems provide a lot of different tools and applications to make teaching and evaluation of the courses easier. Lots of e-learning enthusiasts also argue that sharing information on the Internet is free or much cheaper than for example printing a real book for all students. In addition, materials can be adjusted and changed according to current findings, whilst in printed form corrections definitely cannot be done on daily basis. 2.3 E-learning challenges E-learning also has some difficulties. There are reasons, why in particular cases it is hard to do an e-learning course and also why in other cases teacher should absolutely avoid using e-learning. For example, distance learning cannot replace practice, although there are a lot of online manuals and step by step instructions to all kinds of actions, it is quite clear, that a person cannot simply learn how to swim just by watching an online video. The main reasons for choosing e-learning are summarized in the article Seven key decision factors for selecting e-learning [4]. These seven rules were also considered in design of the course PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business in chapter 6 of the thesis, for evaluating if the e-learning is really suitable for this type of course. One of the often mentioned negative impacts of distance education is loss of human contact, which can really be essential in some cases. Standard learning with human contact 4

12 2. THE E-LEARNING is more interactive and happens in real-time, communication between two people is more natural than communication with a machine. The best way to deal with this phenomenon is to consider this in the design of the course and propose a substitution for the human contact. The best practices of doing so are mentioned in the chapter 5 about designing an e-learning course. Another doubt is concerned with students approach. In society there are still presented views, that the student will not learn anything until obliged to. It can be seen in standard elementary school learning, pupils are given homework and are forced to do it, usually by punishment in case homework is not done. Some people prefer this style of learning because they underestimate human willingness to gain knowledge and also because this is the way they were taught. According to a lot of independent studies and experiments, the truth is the opposite. When people can decide if they will learn or not, they usually get better results than people who are just simply told to learn or solve a problem. People are more likely to engage in behavior when they have intrinsic motivation (i.e., when they feel personally responsible for their action) than when they have extrinsic motivation (i.e., when they feel external factors such as other people are responsible for their action) [5]. Although this approach cannot be used in courses which are compulsory, it is very suitable for complementary courses, especially optional courses at universities. In the case students decide to take a course, not only they will be much more motivated to contribute than in mandatory courses, but also the group of students will be more targeted and much more suitable for this type of education. 2.4 Conclusion Probably all well known universities offer e-learning courses, some of them are even available to the general public. From many useful e-learning platforms, here are mentioned few of the most interesting current projects, which can be referred as practical demonstration of well implemented e-learning environment: Academic earth various online courses from world s top scholars Khan academy over 3,200 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practice MIT open course ware lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology The Internet is proven to be a really powerful tool in learning various information and skills. E-learning has a lot of opponents and lot of enthusiasts, but e-learning and sharing knowledge on the Internet is definitely an important milestone in human history, with widespread impact on all aspects of human life and future ways of learning. 5

13 Chapter 3 E-learning tools There exist a lot of tools which can be used for the support of an e-learning course. Third chapter of the thesis is devoted to explanation of basic e-learning terms and definitions, and also to short introduction to most known e-learning environments which could be considered in design of the particular course implementation. 3.1 Virtual Learning Environment Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a collection of integrated tools enabling the management of online learning, providing a delivery mechanism, student tracking, assessment and access to resources [6]. VLE tools are used as integrated support for distance learning. A virtual learning environment includes web-based access to class content, grades, assessments, and other class tools. It is also a social space where students and their teacher can interact through threaded discussions or chat. A virtual learning environment can also include students and their teacher meeting online through a synchronous web-based application. The teacher is able to present lessons through video, PowerPoint, or chat. The students are able to talk with other students and the teacher, as well as collaborate with each other, answer questions, or pose questions. They can use the tools available through the application to virtually raise their hands, send messages, or answer questions on the screen given by the teacher. Virtual learning can take place in any environment. Learning process can be performed in two different ways. One possible way is through synchronous learning which is done in real time. In these classrooms, teachers conduct live classes. Students can communicate through a microphone, chat, or by writing on the board. Another way students can take their classes is through asynchronous learning, which is sometimes called self-paced learning. Independently, students are expected to complete daily lessons and assignments through systems. Asynchronous courses have deadlines just as synchronous courses do, but each student is learning at his own pace, while the latter is focused around the virtual classroom. In a virtual learning environment, students have great flexibility in their education [7]. In the book Virtually There, Professor Stephen Heppell writes in the foreword: Learning is breaking out of the narrow boxes that it was trapped in during the 20 th century; teachers professionalism, reflection and ingenuity are leading learning to places that genuinely excite this new generation of connected young school students and their teachers too. VLEs are helping to make sure that their learning is not confined to a particular building, or restricted 6

14 3. E-LEARNING TOOLS to any single location or moment. [8] VLE is a term which is closely related to two other terms LMS and LCMS which will be briefly introduced in the next paragraph. 3.2 LMS and LCMS tools Learning on the Internet is supported by many different useful tools with slightly different characteristics. These tools can be commonly referred as LMS (Learning Management Systems) or LCMS (Learning Content Management Systems). Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) represent two distinct but complementary product categories. Each has unique strengths and value propositions, and one does not replace the other [9]. While there are several definitions of a learning management system (LMS), the basic description is a software application that automates the administration, tracking, and reporting of training events. A robust LMS should be able to do the following: centralize and automate administration use self-service and self-guided services assemble and deliver learning content rapidly consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform support portability and standards personalize content and enable knowledge reuse [10] In contrast, an LCMS helps create, reuse, locate, deliver, manage, and improve learning content [9]. 3.3 Few examples of LMS Blackboard Blackboard Learn is a learning management system that comprises four modules: a learning system that provides online course delivery and management for institutions, a community and portal system for use in creating online campus communities, a content management system for centralized control over course content and a system to record and analyze student assessment results [11]. Moodle Word Moodle stands for Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. Moodle is open source software which supports present and distance learning by online courses available on the Internet [12]. 7

15 3. E-LEARNING TOOLS itutor itutor is e-learning platform for learning, knowledge sharing and cooperation. Thanks to the unified architecture with a central database and integral security infrastructure, it is a unique solution allowing a tutor to organize and manage the whole learning process effectively including individual study of electronic courses and materials, synchronous learning in virtual classes and standard learning in classrooms. All this has been placed into a unified environment with an intuitive control allowing you to share all knowledge and include executive means for communication, management, planning and classification. Modular architecture enables gradual integration of individual functionalities according to particular learning requirements [13]. Figure 3.1: LMS Market share for organizations with fewer than 5,000 learners [14] 8

16 Chapter 4 E-learning course models If we want to understand a particular domain, we need to identify objects from which the domain is composed, relationships which are between these objects, and finally we have to understand behavior of examined domain [17]. Domain objects and their relationships are defined in the data model and behavior of the domain is illustrated in use case diagrams. 4.1 Conceptual data model Data model of the e-learning course was outlined to determine main entities and relationships between them. This abstract model is used for better understanding of the domain and its components. Entities Name: User Type: kernel An object of category (#User) is every person which has currently an account in the e-learning system. Name: Student Type: kernel An object of category (#Student) is every user signed for studies in a bachelor, master or doctoral study programme at Masaryk University in Brno. Note: (#Student) is a subcategory of category (#User). Name: Tutor Type: kernel An object of category (#Tutor) is every user contracted by the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University in Brno to give e-learning lectures to students. Note: (#Tutor) is a subcategory of category (#User). 9

17 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS Name: Administrator Type: kernel An object of category (#Administrator) is every person contracted by the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University in Brno to administer e-learning system. Note: (#Administrator) is a subcategory of category (#User). Name: Course Type: kernel An object of category (#Course) is every series of e-learning lectures on particular subject approved by the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University in Brno for being taught at the faculty. Name: Lecture Type: kernel An object of category (#Lecture) is every set of study materials which are connected together, either by date of teaching or by common topic. Name: Study material Type: kernel An object of category (#Study material) is every file placed in the e-learning system used for teaching purposes. Figure 4.1: Data model legend 10

18 11 Figure 4.2: Data model of the e-learning system

19 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS Name: Slides Type: kernel An object of category (#Slides) is every file placed in the e-learning system in presentation form which contains the main content of the course. Note: (#Slides) is a subcategory of category (#Study material). Name: Video Type: kernel An object of category (#Video) is every file placed in the e-learning system in video format. Note: (#Video) is a subcategory of category (#Study material). Name: Article Type: kernel An object of category (#Article) is every file placed in the e-learning system in document form which contains supplementary information. Note: (#Article) is subcategory of category (#Study material). Name: Link Type: kernel An object of category (#Link) is every file placed in the e-learning system in URL format. Note: (#Link) is subcategory of category (#Study material). Name: Project assignment Type: kernel An object of category (#Project assignment) is every file placed in the e-learning system which contains text assignment for project elaboration. Note: (#Project assignment) is a subcategory of category (#Study material). Name: Exercise assignment Type: kernel An object of category (#Exercise assignment) is every file placed in the e-learning system which contains text assignment for exercise elaboration. Note: (#Exercise assignment) is a subcategory of category (#Study material). Name: Evaluated object Type: kernel An object of category (#Evaluated object) is every study unit which is placed in the e- learning system and can be evaluated. Name: Post Type: kernel An object of category (#Post) is every contribution to a discussion. Note: (#Post) is a subcategory of category (#Evaluated object). 12

20 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS Name: Discussion forum Type: kernel An object of category (#Discussion forum) is every place in a particular e-learning course dedicated to conversation between users. Name: Project Type: kernel An object of category (#Project) is every evaluated assignment elaborated by a student or a group of students, which is connected to the curriculum of the course. Note: (#Project) is a subcategory of category (#Evaluated object). Name: Team Type: kernel An object of category (#Team) is a group of students which are cooperating in some course activities. Name: Exercise Type: kernel An object of category (#Exercise) is every evaluated assignment elaborated by a student or a group of students, which is connected to the curriculum of a particular lecture. Note: (#Exercise) is a subcategory of category (#Evaluated object). Name: Exam Type: kernel An object of category (#Exam) is an assignment and elaboration of the final test of the course. Note: (#Exam) is a subcategory of category (#Evaluated object). Name: Points Type: kernel An object of category (#Points) is the sum of scores gained for all evaluated activities. Name: Grading Type: associative An object of category (#Grading) is every representation of a relationship between (#Student), (#Course) and (#Points) with the following meaning: (#Student)-s who have passed the given (#Course) with a given (Grade) based on gained (#Points) / 0,M:0,M Name: Grade Type: descriptive An element of category (Grade) is every character from the following set: A, B, C, D, E, F, N, P, Z, (absence). 13

21 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS Relationships 1. (#Administrator)-s administrating a given (#Course)-s. 0:M/0:M 2. (#Tutor)-s teaching a given (#Course)-s. 0:M/0:M 3. (#Student)-s enrolled in a given (#Course)-s. 0:M/0:M 4. (#Course) containing a given (# Lecture)-s. 1:1/0:M 5. (#Lecture) containing a given (#Study material)-s. 0:1/0:M 6. (#Course) containing a given (#Study material)-s. 0:1/0:M 7. (#Project)-s elaborated on a given (#Project assignment). 0:M/1:1 8. (#Exercise)-s elaborated on a given (#Exercise assignment). 0:M/1:1 9. (#Discussion forum) contained in a given (#Course). 0:1/0:1 10. (#Discussion forum) containing a given (#Post)-s. 1:1/0:M 11. (#Post)-s replying to a given (#Post)-s. 0:N 12. (#Points)-s scored for a given (#Evaluated subject)-s. 0:M/0:M 13. (#Team)-s consisting of a given (#Student)-s. 0:M/0:M 14. (#Student) submitting a given (#Evaluated subject)-s. 1:1/0:M 15. (#Team)-s working on a given (#Project)-s. 0:M/0:M 4.2 Use case diagrams Use cases diagrams typically define interactions between actors and the system which occur in order to achieve particular goal. These use case diagrams were designed not only to define stakeholders of particular goals and make actions more clear but also to determine common usage of e-learning. Most commonly used actions are explained more precisely in the appendix, in a short manual, which will guide the actor of a particular use case through more detailed steps to achieve the desired goal. For a better readability, the use case diagram is divided into four separate models. First model in figure 4.3 is the most general use case which shows mutual interactions of all actors and the system. Due to data transparency, just one level of use cases is visible, more details are available in next three diagrams. The second model figure 4.4 contains a more detailed view of an administrator and describes in more detailed steps use cases from the first model, which could be broken down. The administrator s use case model is separate from the other actors, because his/her actions 14

22 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS are different from the actions of other two agents in the system. Also the administrator, as a provider of technical background to an e-learning system, has not much in common with the teaching and learning process itself. Last two diagrams 4.5 and 4.6 contain use cases of a tutor and a student. The tutor and the student use case diagram scope was divided into two diagrams to be more explicit, but these two roles were put together, because there are a lot of actions in the system that they have in common. There are many cases when they both have to deal with similar problems, but they deal with those from a slightly different angle. In general we can say that both of them are associated with the same entities, but their goals and rights in the actions are different. As it is apparent from the both figures, the tutor rights are an extension of the student s rights. For example, both of the actors are dealing with documents, usually the tutor is the one who shares it with students and the student is the one who downloads it. 15

23 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS Figure 4.3: General use cases for all agents 16

24 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS Figure 4.4: Detailed use case for Administrator role 17

25 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS Figure 4.5: Detailed use case for Student and Tutor role part one 18

26 4. E-LEARNING COURSE MODELS Figure 4.6: Detailed use case for Student and Tutor role part two 19

27 Chapter 5 Preparation of an e-learning course E-learning course preparation is a complex activity which consists of many different aspects and points of view which require prior consideration. E-learning can be viewed from technical, service system, psychological, pedagogical, economical and many other perspectives. In this chapter, three different methodologies were chosen to provide complex insight on an e-learning course preparation. The first point of view was named Best practices. This view contains a selection of topics which are often mentioned in literature which is connected to e-learning and distance education. The second methodology called Seven key decision factors for selecting e-learning is a conceptual framework to analyze media selection and specifically the suitability of e-learning to a particular learning task. According to John Huddlestone and Jonathon Pike [4], there are seven key decision factors, which will indicate if the e-learning should or could be used in a particular situation. After asking seven questions regarding e-learning scope, way of learning, context and other related fields, the person who prepares an e-learning course should be able to do Go/No-Go decision (decision in favor or against the e-learning support of the course). The next important point of view which should be considered in e-learning preparation is service system view. The last section of this chapter is called Seven key aspects of service system and consists of seven aspects of service system from the Diamond of Predictive Behavior. This diamond was designed as a conceptual framework which should enable design, implementation and execution of the service system for the sake of the client and for his/her benefit. The features of a service system that are accentuated by this model, could be summarized as follows: service system has to be autonomous, co-operative, composeable, and adaptive. To be useful, its behavior has to be predictive and oriented in various contexts. This means it has to be able to identify and deliver services achieving given goals in conformity with particular requirements and domain or context specifics. It should understand use cases describing typical or important situations. It should communicate and cooperate with agents in the game involved. And finally, it should remember relevant structural connections and behavioral operations in a form of such models which are context-sensitive, attention aware and certainty-sensitive. [18] 20

28 5. PREPARATION OF AN E-LEARNING COURSE 5.1 Best practices Audience People for whom the course is prepared matter the most. When designing a course, especially an e-learning one, a tutor has always to bear in mind people students, their motivation, their characteristics. An e-learning course has to arouse interest in the subject and motivate people to be eager to learn something new on their own. Course materials should be prepared and aimed always for a particular group of students. When students target group changes, materials and their content should be reevaluated. A tutor should always know his/her audience well. Examples of questions to be thought about by the course creator related to audience before starting with the course preparation: Whom is the course dedicated to? What are they enjoying? What are their motivations for taking the course? What are their expectations for the course? What makes them special? Time Time is nowadays a very important commodity and sometimes a tutor has to decide between course perfection and the amount of a time spent on course preparation. The time needed for creating an e-learning course can be really varied. Bryan Chapman in his research study defines time frames of 4 basic levels of learning [19]: Instructor led training (ILT) ILT is a regular live learning with a tutor. This level was rated by a ratio 43:1, what this means is that on average 43 hours of preparation were needed to prepare 1 hour of the course. Level 1 e-learning (Basic) basic e-learning course contains text, graphics, pages, assessment, perhaps simple audio or simple video, test questions. This type of e-learning has ratio 79:1, on average 79 hours of preparation are needed to prepare 1 hour of the course. Level 2 e-learning (Interactive) interactive e-learning enables the same content as level 1 plus 25% or more interactive exercises allowing learners to perform virtual try it exercises and liberal use of multimedia (audio, video, animations). Interactive e-learning has 184:1 ratio, what this means is that for 1 hour training a tutor should reserve in average 184 hours of preparation. Level 3 e-learning (Advanced) the third level of e-learning includes the features of level 2 and above that, it is highly interactive, so may contain simulation or could be 21

29 5. PREPARATION OF AN E-LEARNING COURSE game-based. Course uses avatars and custom interactions. The author of the research calls this group of e-learning award-winning caliber courseware (combines the words course and software) and assigned it with 490:1 ratio. This means that 490 hours, which is more than 3 months work of a full-time employee, had to be dedicated for just 1 hour of advanced e-learning course. Examples of questions to be thought about by the course creator include time before starting with the course preparation: How much time can be devoted to the course preparation? Which level of e-learning is for the course (and the audience) satisfactory? Do we need to get to the next e-learning level? How can we get there? Absence of live tutoring A tutor should remember the differences between the regular course and the e-learning one when preparing a course. For example, materials and documents used in live courses cannot usually be used in an e-learning course as they are designed just as an outline for tutor s talking. In live training, focus and emphasis is on the tutor, his/her speech, stories and also his/her personality, in contrast to distance learning when the center of the course lies in the materials, their content and the way they are presented. If there is such a possibility, materials should be adjusted for e-learning courses to be suitably self-explanatory. All successful e-learning courses should have prepared not only quality materials with valuable facts, but also something more than just information a motivator which will arouse an interest in e-learning topic. Examples of questions to be thought about by the course creator connected to absence of live tutoring before starting with the course preparation: Are materials and information clear without any additional explanation? Is the presentation of the topic interesting enough to attract students attention? Is the presentation amusing and entertaining through whole duration of the course? What could be done in order for students to be more motivated? Course outputs Designer of a course should consider what is his/her motivation and what he/she expects to be outputs of particular course. Course deliverables can be really different and vary from paper or project elaboration to pure deepening of the students knowledge. Examples of questions to be thought about by the course creator related to course outputs before starting with the course preparation: 22

30 5. PREPARATION OF AN E-LEARNING COURSE What will the student gain after passing the course? What will the teacher gain after tutoring the course? What are the other wins of the course? When should be the course considered as passed? What conditions must student fulfill to successfully complete the course? Tools When designing an e-learning course, tutor has to think also a little bit ahead into the course implementation. There are various Virtual Learning Environments or more specialized Learning Management or Learning Content Management System on the market. These tools have different parameters and they are suitable for different e-learning courses. Some of the environments are free, some of them are paid, some are better for self improvement, other can be used as support tool in the schools and universities, a lot of them are even used in enterprise e-learning solutions, which are used by companies for their human resources improvement (more about some of the e-learning tools was mentioned in chapter 3). When designing the course, a creator should choose the right tool for particular course and situation. Materials should be then prepared with respect to specific e-learning tool, its limitation and its strengths. More detailed analysis of the e-learning tools by MoSCoW method is contained in chapter 6.1. Examples of questions to be thought about by the course creator related to e-learning tools before starting with the course preparation: How good are the expected computer, Internet and language skills of target student group? Which special modules, add-ons or applications are necessary in the course? Is the tutor technical skilled? How big is the budget dedicated to e-learning? What the course must, should, could and will not contain? Context Course should be prepared with as much knowledge of context about course background as possible. Examples of questions to be thought about by the course creator related to context starting with the course preparation: What are the critical factors of the course success? What are the possible failure points of the course? 23

31 5. PREPARATION OF AN E-LEARNING COURSE Are there any restrictions for the course which should be considered in design (cultural differences, political restrictions, university policy, technical restrictions, resources... )? What are the best parameters for the course settings (duration of one lecture, number of lectures in whole course, regularity of the lectures, number of tutors, number of students, number of students in one group... )? 5.2 Seven key decision factors for selecting e-learning According to John Huddlestone and Jonathon Pike, there are following seven key decisions factors for selecting e-learning: 1. Learning task considerations is the learning task suitable for e-learning? Terms like e-learning, Internet, World Wide Web and many others sound very modern and attractive. In order to look more appealing, a lot of schools, universities and companies feel like they are obliged to use distance learning and to provide e-learning courses. Sometimes in such an effort, they forget to ask themselves the most important question: Is this theme/topic/course really appropriate for an e-learning? In case interested parties would ask themselves the question upfront they would maybe find out that sometimes the best choice is not to provide an e-learning. E-learning course should be a functional supplement or even substitute of the course, but without necessary functionality, clear vision and mission, such a course cannot be successful and it stays a fashionable but useless application. 2. Media attributes does e-learning support the necessary media attributes and interactions required for the instruction? The second key decision factor is especially important in particular types of learning, which are not based on gaining information. Learning does not mean just reading, writing and memorizing the facts. It means much more. Learning in real life contains lots and lots of different stimulus, which have an impact on human perception. Human beings have a multitude of senses. In addition to the traditionally recognized five senses of sight (ophthalmoception), hearing (audioception), taste (gustaoception), smell (olfacoception or olfacception), and touch (tactioception), other senses include temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception) and acceleration (kinesthesioception) [15]. In real life, we are able to gain some knowledge with each of these senses. When it comes to distance learning, providing haptic, odor and other non cognitive experiences could be really difficult, if possible, and expensive. More difficult tasks which include some psychomotor skills cannot be practiced in e- learning (e.g. driving a car, riding a bicycle, performing a surgery... ), but also in cases like these, there can be theoretical e-learning knowledge base, which provides information background for practical skill (e.g. rules of safe driving, how to s for skating, 24

32 5. PREPARATION OF AN E-LEARNING COURSE simulations of surgery, tips for playing a guitar... ). Media attributes decision factor covers decision, which topics or exercises from theme will be processed and how, but also which topics and exercises will not (or cannot) be proceed. 3. Grouping strategy considerations is the learning task capable of being handled through individualized instruction? In a standard class, there is a group of students and teacher can choose, if they will solve problems individually, in groups or as a whole student class. Teacher has also overview about behavior of all students during the class. In distance learning, students are most of the time treated as individuals. In case tutor has prepared some projects or exercises, when more than one person is needed for achieving the goal, he/she has either to adapt exercise for one person or provide learners with an environment, where they would be able to communicate and solve exercises and problems together. E-learning will thus probably contain much more exercises to be done individually than in pairs or groups. Materials and style of learning of the particular subject should be adapted to that matter. 4. Learning context and practical considerations is e-learning possible given the context of the delivery situation and other practical considerations? The fourth key decision factor contains software, hardware, Internet or other restrictions which course designer has to consider when planning the course. Sometimes a course administrator counts on the facts which are obvious to him/her, but it does not necessarily mean they are so obvious to whole group of students. Not all students have to own their own computer, mobile phone or printer, not all of them have Internet connection available 24/7, not all students have to have Internet connection which allows them video streaming in real time and so on. A course administrator or a tutor of the course has to be very empathic and they have to think about learners constraints which might cause a problem in e-learning course. 5. Learner characteristics do the learners have the necessary skills, attitudes and motivation to conduct e-learning? Some of the learners characteristics were already mentioned in topic Audience above This paragraph examines the learner from a little bit different perspective. In this fifth decision factor we have to investigate if there is anything about our e-learning audience what could possibly cause failure of the system or not fulfilling the course mission (e.g. preparation of the course for people with some type of disability or with some other special characteristics which could cause failure in delivering benefit to a student). 6. Instructional management considerations is e-learning supportable within the wider organizational and cultural context? The basic consideration about supportability of an e-learning is whether the organization will be able to integrate e-learning system efficiently and operate, maintain and 25

33 5. PREPARATION OF AN E-LEARNING COURSE evaluate e-learning solutions over a long period of time. Introducing e-learning brings changes to the way how courses are developed, supported and managed. From a management perspective, adding e-learning to the range of available instructional media could mean necessary changes in the hierarchy of the organization, what may involve new instructor roles and skills, changing methods of training administration and new evaluation opportunities. 7. Cost effectiveness is e-learning a cost effective medium for delivering instruction? Cost effectiveness is a significant decision point when resolving if to use the e-learning for the course or not. There are many situations, where e-learning can help to decrease costs needed for course significantly, but on the other hand, e-learning is definitely not free. When estimating a cost effectiveness of the course, following items has to be counted: Figure 5.1: E-learning costs 26

34 5. PREPARATION OF AN E-LEARNING COURSE When considering an e-learning course establishment, often just costs for regular course versus e-learning costs are considered, but there are cases when more factors have to be taken into consideration. This case occurs for example in courses, in which e- learning has just facilitating role in the whole learning process (e.g. medical courses or other practically aimed courses, mentioned already in the Media attributes factor), i.e. course has both parts live lectures and also the e-learning part. Costs for these types of courses tend to be usually higher, all materials have to be adjusted for live courses and for e-learning separately, almost all work done on the courses has to be done twice. These two types of learning are usually used together just in case it s really necessary and benefits outweigh the overall costs of the course. 5.3 Seven key aspects of service system In this chapter, Seven key aspects of service system from the Diamond of Predictive Behavior were taken into account. The Diamond of Predictive Behavior serves as a conceptual reference model of service system, which may provide more elaborated background for service execution and service innovation processes [18]. An e-learning system is a service system with added value and it should thus contain the same aspects as the diamond to be able to deliver the value. The diamond helps its users to focus attention on important aspects common for the most of service systems [20]. 1. Requirement 2. Goal The first aspect to focus on is the requirement. Requirements are all listed needs of what an e-learning course should be or should do. When designing an e-learning course, requirements for the final solution have to be listed. Requirement list should cover needs of all interested parties (Actors). The goal is the state in which we are not yet, but we would like to be. Goal is the purpose, why the service system (an e-learning course) is emerging at all and what is the expected benefit of whole action. There can be one global goal for whole service system or few partial goals and milestones to be achieved by the particular project. 3. Context Every action takes place in some Context or environment. The third aspect, Context, shows boundaries of the particular e-learning service system. 4. Service Service is a solution which brings benefits to actors, service should bring satisfaction by fulfilling service system requirements towards defined goal. 27

35 5. Use-case 5. PREPARATION OF AN E-LEARNING COURSE Use-cases, stated simply, allow description of sequences of events that, taken together, lead to a system doing something useful. In other words, they express a contract on system behavior [20]. 6. Model Important aspect of the predictive behavior is also data model which should formalize relationships between main entities of the system. With this formalization and slight generalization of service system relations, data model is transferable and can be further used. 7. Agent Last but not least part of the Diamond of predictive behavior are agents, which are all interested parties in particular service system. 28

36 Chapter 6 Design of the e-learning course Marketing Strategy in Service Business 6.1 Best practices Audience Assumed audience for the prepared course are mainly students from the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University. The majority of the students is supposed to attend Service, Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME) study field. Except technical skills, students should dispose with the basic knowledge of economy and marketing. E-learning course of this type is aimed for the students which really want to gain knowledge and they are not worried about sharing their ideas and experience with others. Course is optional for all the students, so all their motivations should be purely educational, without worrying about not passing the course. Target group of the course Marketing Strategy in Service Business are IT and marketing enthusiast. It is generation of university students of these days which do not have any problems with working and learning on the Internet. They are also familiar with learning by different types of medium, they know how to look for information they need. Most of the knowledge of this Internet generation comes from some type of e-learning e-books, audio books, videos and topics placed on the Internet. Students target group are students in master s degree programme, they are more focused on praxis than on theoretical knowledge, most of them already have some experience from internship or work. They enjoy working in a creative environment and they are familiar with contemporary social media such as Facebook or Twitter. These students are enjoying cooperation and innovations. Motivation for taking this e-learning course can be: gaining the theoretical and practical knowledge from marketing environment, discussing with other students own ideas and perspectives, working together in a teams on some interesting exercises or projects and a little bit curiosity. When new course is launching, usually a lot of things have to be adjusted to particular new events and lot of changes are happening. To set realistic expectations, the first course run is usually about finding out the right way to reach the students and best practices how to do so. Expectations for the first students run should be then a little bit experimental. For course to be successful, students should be willing and able to provide good feedback on the 29

37 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS course, teaching methods, materials, evaluation and all other aspects of study, especially the ones which are usually more problematic in e-learning course (like teamwork or similar). Therefore, the right expectations should be that a student is a part of the creation of the new course with opportunity to help with further course development Time When considering Chapman s classification already mentioned in the previous chapter, course was taught so far in ILT level. The mission of the practical output of this thesis is to get the course to the first e-learning level. This category can be starting point for other levels of the e-learning and it is also a standard method of the e-learning development to start at the level one and proceed to the next levels, skipping e-learning levels is quite unusual. According to Chapman s estimation, preparation of an e-learning course on the first level should take 79 hours for one hour of a course. Duration of the course Marketing Strategy in Service Business should be approximately 20 hours (10 lectures, 2 hours each), what means that approximately 1580 hours of work should be anticipated to take the course to the first level Absence of live tutoring Course Marketing Strategy in Service Business was taught only in live courses so far. Either it was regular course on weekly basis or it was taught in blocks by external specialist. There have to be two problems solved, if the absence of live tutoring should be minimized. The first thing is material preparation. This course has a lot of useful information, a lot of interesting papers and presentations. Big challenge is to adjust materials to be suitable for e-learning education without losing of valuable and interesting information, but still, keep the course content simple, easy to understand and entertaining. All materials should be thus simple, clear and understandable without any additional explanations. In a process of course implementation in the chapter 7, the way of materials adjustment is defined and summarized. The second challenge of the course is to build a place for communication. Whole marketing is art of communication. It can be communication with customers, business partners or simply any type of communication or sharing ideas with others. Marketing is not static thing and cannot be learned just through cognitive memorizing the facts. Marketing needs to be practiced, communicated, continuously improving through feedback and evaluation from the other participants. In this course, students should learn to empathize with their potential clients. Forget Product, Study Consumer wants and needs. You can no longer sell whatever you can make. You can only sell what someone specifically wants to buy. [16] When considering differences between the live tutoring and e-learning, way of communication between the students is key difference, which need to be solved in order to make course more useful and interesting. The main task is to eliminate absence of live tutoring 30

38 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS and live student s interaction through enabling similar contact between the students as they are experiencing in the social networks and communities Course outputs Conception of the most amusing and the most useful courses in general usually consists of triple win. The first win is win for the student, the second one is win for the tutor or educational institution and the last win is win for whole or part of the society. In general, we can say that in case like this everybody wins. A lot of courses in SSME field at Faculty of Informatics contain all these wins. Students win is they gain an interesting and useful knowledge and practice their skills. This experience can be beneficial also in job market where, especially nowadays, praxis is crucial. Faculty profits from talented and well educated students, which are not only able to help to build a good name of the faculty, but a lot of their ideas and works can be used at the faculty and improve education or other faculty aspects. The third win is win of the society or particular company. Students are led to solve not only theoretical but, more importantly, real life problems in their projects or theses and faculty cooperates with different companies to enable students to do so. Therefore, students have therefore opportunity to collaborate on the real research or business projects in partner companies and these companies can benefit from projects outputs. Also further cooperation of the student and the company which was satisfied with his/her work is very usual and student can be offered a full-time job based on previous successful collaboration. When students encounter with work in commercial or research area of IT industry, they often have their own ideas how to make things better or different and they can even start companies on their own. Whole society can then benefit from new startups (creation of new products and services, new career opportunities... ) which have their origin at the faculty or were founded with its big contribution. Course PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business is also meant to fit into the triple win scheme. Student s wins are: Knowledge nowadays is more than ever significant that information means the power. Valuable knowledge base is in current world very important for career growth. Experience and participation on the real life projects student gets more practical experience, which can help him/her in his/her future professional life or as a result of the project student can be offered job or internship. Project and exercise elaboration student can use projects and exercises output as future reference for other projects. 31

39 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS Wins of the tutor and the university are: Ideas and opinions of the students tutor can get fresh opinions and ideas, which can be also very valuable in his/hers career. Tutor is presented with the world from the student point of view, what can be really interesting experience. New marketing course due to absence of the full-time tutor at the faculty, which could teach such a course, there are no guarantees for course to being taught next semester. With an e-learning support of the course, there is an opportunity to invite foreign tutors which are available worldwide and not just the tutors physically placed in Brno (or willing and able to travel to Brno). E-learning course despite the technical field of study at the Faculty of Informatics, e-learning courses are not so usual. Having an e-learning course with fully functional LMS with environment different from Information System of Masaryk University would be new experience for the students and also for the course tutor. Other wins: Project and exercise elaboration for external company projects or exercises can solve real life situations and these solutions can be used in praxis. Except the benefits for interested parties, course outputs paragraph is also about the rules, which student has to follow in order to pass the course. More detailed rules and conditions, what are proposed criteria for student to pass the course and what exactly he/she has to do in order to successfully finish the course, are in the chapter 7 about course implementation Tools Few e-learning tools were already mentioned in VLE section, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. There exists much more than just few mentioned e-learning systems. In the large pile of learning management systems, there is not just one right choice, every LMS can be the best choice for particular settings (course, context, audience... ). Although there is no such a thing as the best learning management system for all courses, we can still try to find the best one for the course Marketing Strategy in Service Business. MoSCoW analysis for defining requirements and system behavior can be very useful in cases like this. MoSCoW method was used to determine prerequisites, behavior, necessary basic features and useful gadgets for the online marketing course. The analysis should exclude tools, which are not fulfilling requirements, from selection process. Important part of the MoSCoW analysis are not only requirements, which should the right tool fulfill but also features which will not be available in the system. When number of system features exceeds particular limit, not only the system could be slow and cumbersome, but also the users are less satisfied and more confused because system is too complicated for them (see the figure 6.1). Although this fact sounds simple, it is often neglected and causes a lot of problems in system designs. 32

40 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS Figure 6.1: Graph of dependence between number of features and user experience [21] MoSCoW analysis M Must LMS tool must have these features: User administration adding, editing and removing the user, change the user information, possibility of resending of forgotten password Course administration adding, editing and removing the course, enrolling the particular student in the course Material administration adding, editing and removing the material, assigning material to particular course or lecture Grading tool has to enable user evaluation in the course Access rights customization permission settings for a new account, adjusting existing access rights, assigning a role to an account, managing roles and responsibilities Grouping there must be possibility to group particular students together and treat them all in the same way (e.g. grade a team, send a message to a particular group of students... ) No fee to minimize costs for e-learning, free solution has to be chosen 33

41 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS S Should LMS tool should have these features: Pleasant and user friendly environment easy to work with all features should be for user intuitive and easy to use. Although the word pleasant can be very ambiguous for LMS characteristic, this attribute can be for particular LMS very easily evaluated by reviews and comments from actual LMS users Course settings constraints about number of students and settings a regularity of the course Discussion forum LMS should enable a possibility of discussion and user contribution with posts English language preferable language of the tool is English as SSME is study program taught in English Profile administration changing the information in user s profile Backup feature from a long term point of view, all e-learning data should have possibility to be stored Continuous development tool should be following new trends to provide new features also in the future C Could LMS tool could have these features: Customization LMS could be customized by the user s or teacher s needs Notes taking notes to course/student/material can be very useful not only for students evaluation but also for further course or material development and recording tutor s ideas and observations Activity information tool could be able to provide information about users activities Event planning useful feature for scheduling some common activities Search LMS could provide search in whole course content Notifications user could be able to set in which cases he/she wants to be notified and how (e.g. some LMS solutions can send an in particular predefined situations) Messages users can have opportunity to communicate together in form of private messages or instant messaging News except private messages, tutor could have also possibility to put course news into separate page or some kind of notice board for all students to see them 34

42 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS W Won t LMS tool will not have these features: Teleconferencing this feature is not necessary for course run. In addition, it is obvious that the hardware requirements would be much higher because of this feature. Special reporting the course database is not expected to process big amount of data so far. No difficult reports have to be built on this information. Integration there will be no integration with other systems like Information System of Masaryk University or any other Other than English language system will not support other than English language Advanced e-learning features LMS will not support simulations, avatars nor gaming Context Course Marketing Strategy in Service Business is taught on the Faculty of Informatics in Brno. So far, the course was listed under the following terms: Spring 2010 and Spring Course is not offered regularly because of problems with finding a tutor for the course. SWOT analysis SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method which evaluates the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It was used to determine properties and characteristics of the course in the current state. Strengths Content course has an interesting content, which could be for students amusing and beneficial. Marketing issues are very modern and there are a lot of interesting topics which could be a part of the course. Students Students of the SSME field at the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University are led to be so-called T-shaped professionals. Not only they have technical background, but they are also involved in economy, law, human resources, management, scheduling and planning activities. As a result of that, course can cover really special point of view on marketing for this special group of IT students. Weaknesses No tutor for some time, there occurred a problem with finding a tutor for this course, because there are not many specialist in this field in academic environment in Czech Republic. Course irregularity course was not taught regularly by one person for several years, because of this irregularity there are no guarantees the course will be taught next time. 35

43 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS Figure 6.2: SWOT analysis Materials materials are nowadays adjusted just for the live course run, also because of aforementioned irregularity, there are more different types of materials as every tutor used his/her own material. Opportunities Eliminate weaknesses main opportunities for the course is elimination of all weaknesses not enough tutors problem, issue with course irregularity and problem with materials. Create a unique course this type of course would be unique at the Faculty of Informatics with its main topics and also with the way of learning. Threats Not fulfilling the conditions there are certain conditions which must be fulfilled for the course in order to be successful. These conditions are further mentioned in the chapter 7.5 and in case some of them is not fulfilled, there exists a treat that the course will not succeed in fulfilling its goals. More detailed view on the critical factors, course failure points and particular course settings, which are connected to the context of the course, is available in next chapters. 36

44 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS 6.2 Seven key decision factors 1. Learning task considerations is the learning task suitable for e-learning? Main topic of the course is marketing, especially marketing in service business. There are no reasons why marketing should not be suitable for distance education. Marketing is already successfully taught in e-learning courses, for example in the courses mentioned in the chapter 2.4, so the first key decision factor about suitability of an e-learning task can be considered as passed. 2. Media attributes does e-learning support the necessary media attributes and interactions required for the instruction? The marketing theme does not necessarily require any kind of special perception or use of any special senses which could not be supported by an e-learning system. Although there are some types of marketing, which are not fully supported, e.g. presenting ideas and teleconferencing with the whole class, this fact can be used in one s advantage. When there is no possibility of standard type of presenting as it is used in other classes, students have opportunity to come up with something new and interesting (for example making an amusing Prezi presentation, making a video, making their own web pages... ). The constraints can be used as an exercise to improve creative thinking by overcoming obstacles. The marketing learning task has no special needs in media attributes and thus it is suitable for e-learning. 3. Grouping strategy considerations is the learning task capable of being handled through individualized instruction? Big part of an e-learning process of the course can be handled through individualized instruction. Presentations and most of the exercises are set to be handled by student individually. Only aspect which could use grouping strategy is project elaboration. Project is usually handled by the team, rather than individuals. This problem was solved by enabling messaging and discussion forums among the students. Student can be also treated as a group teacher is able to send a message to whole group, they can be graded together as a group as well. Grouping strategy consideration can be easily solved by enabling groups in the e-learning system. 4. Learning context and practical considerations is e-learning possible given the context of the delivery situation and other practical considerations? The vast majority of the students at the Faculty of Informatics have their own computer and the vast majority has connection to the Internet. If there would be some exceptional students who do not, Masaryk University offers them with computer rooms (some of them are even opened non-stop) with fast Internet connection. The e-learning system should be accessed via the web interface and the engine itself is running on the 37

45 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS server it should be available anytime and without any special requirements on students software or hardware, except the installation of the Internet browser. 5. Learner characteristics do the learners have the necessary skills, attitudes and motivation to conduct e-learning? All students, not only at the Faculty of Informatics but on the whole Masaryk University, have experience with the Information System of the university. A lot of activities are performed in the system (enrolling in the courses, grading... ). Information System (IS) is much more complicated and contains more features than an average e-learning system, so if the students are able to work with the IS, they should not have any problems or skills missing to conduct an e-learning. 6. Instructional management considerations is e-learning supportable within the wider organizational and cultural context? From the cultural or organizational point of view, there are no special constraints about an e-learning course. Masaryk University already has some e-learning courses running long-term without problems. 7. Cost effectiveness is e-learning a cost effective medium for delivering instruction? To find out, if an e-learning would be convenient from economical point of view, following aspects have to be compared before and after an e-learning implementation: Tutor only change from tutor point of view is, that in case of external tutor, travelling expenditures would be saved. Materials although there are some changes to the materials which have to be done, these changes are in the scope of tutors responsibilities for preparing a new course run, no additional costs for materials are needed. Other operative maintenance costs (for printing materials and so on) can be spared. Place comparing to the live course, costs for the room for the course are saved. Equipments there are no software costs for an e-learning system (one of the requirements from MoSCoW analysis was the system has to be free). From hardware point of view, server would be needed for an e-learning course run, what should not be a significant problem at the Faculty of Informatics. Maintenance future costs for maintenance includes costs for the server maintenance and for the course administration. Other there are no special other costs for an e-learning course run. Costs for both cases are very similar. Even though the expected price for the e-learning course should be lower than the price for the regular course, in general we can say that the e-learning costs should not mean for the faculty big profit neither the big loss. Important aspect is, the faculty would be able to solve the problem with missing tutor without any big additional costs. 38

46 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS 6.3 Seven key aspects of service system 1. Requirement 2. Goal Requirements to e-learning systems are as follows: System will enable teaching system will provide the tutor with all features needed for successful teaching process (detailed actions connected to teaching can be found on the tutor use case diagrams in the figures 4.5 and 4.6) System will enable learning system will provide the student with all features needed for successful learning process (detailed actions connected to learning can be found on the student use case diagrams in the figures 4.5 and 4.6) System will enable sharing and editing the study materials and other files connected to teaching process System should be simple, user friendly and easy to handle Goal of the service system is to provide functional interface for the e-learning course run, which could be used in teaching process and which should be able to handle physical absence of the tutor in the place of the course teaching. Goal of the service system is to provide an environment for sharing knowledge and experiences and get ideas evaluated. 3. Context The course takes place at the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University in Brno. The students which want to enroll in the course have to be signed for studies in a bachelor, master or doctoral study programme at Masaryk University in Brno. There are no geographical boundaries of the course from the tutor s point of view, but the tutor has to have valid contract with the Faculty of Informatics. 4. Service Service is delivering an e-learning from the tutor to student. Added value of the course is the fact that the e-learning course can be used for cooperation with external tutors without need of travelling. Another added value of the service system is availability independent from particular time slot. Students can be part of the course even in the semester they are doing their Interim Project (semestral internship mandatory for all SSME students). During this semester, they have just a little amount of time for taking courses and they cannot afford to take a course taught in block because of the internship. E-learning solution can be very suitable and beneficial in a case like this. 5. Use-case Complete use case diagrams and their explanations are in the section 4.2 Use case diagrams. 39

47 6. DESIGN OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE MARKETING STRATEGY IN SERVICE BUSINESS 6. Model Model which formalizes relationships between main entities of the system can be found in the section 4.1 Conceptual data model. 7. Agent All interested parties in this particular service system are described in the section 7.2 Roles and responsibilities. 40

48 Chapter 7 E-learning course implementation 7.1 Motivation The course PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business was not taught on regular basis, because currently there is no permanent teacher specialized in that field at the Faculty of Informatics. So far, faculty had just one option to find a host teacher, which would come to Brno and taught the course in blocks. This solution is not always the best choice, not only a teacher had to undergo a long trip and postpone all own responsibilities, but also teaching in blocks can be a little problematic in some aspects. For example, both the students and the rooms have regular timetable and it is usually spread during the whole week. In the block teaching, all of these other schedules would have to be cancelled. Preparation for the block teaching is not always easy and homework assignment is difficult, if the student has to prepare homework daily. Also not all the potential tutors are comfortable with travelling and not all the students can afford to omit their other lectures. The e-learning support of the course could solve this situation by providing opportunity to organize the course without need of tutor to be physically in Brno. Faculty of Informatics would then have much wider scope of potential tutors for this particular course and the course would not have to be necessarily taught in blocks, what would remove all negative aspects of block courses. 7.2 Roles and responsibilities Main agents and actions connected to them for general e-learning model were already mentioned in chapter 4 in e-learning data model and use case diagrams. In this part the roles and responsibilities are defined not only for general e-learning, but more detailed for this particular e-learning course. Role tutor is directly related to the course teaching. A tutor has contract with the Faculty of Informatics. Tutor s responsibilities and skills are usually defined by the rules of the University or by definition of the particular course when the course is being accredited. In this case tutor s responsibilities include: regular answering to students messages or posts uploading and updating materials uploading and updating exercises and project assignments 41

49 taking care of whole learning process responsibility for quality of the course teaching 7. E-LEARNING COURSE IMPLEMENTATION enabling a communication between student and administrator in case of system problems getting a feedback on the course, materials, e-learning environment or tutoring and take it into an account in the next course run Administrator role is connected to administration and management of the e-learning system. This role is responsible for technical background of the course and also as the tutor, the Administrator has also signed contract with the faculty. Administrator responsibilities are: reacting on tutor requirements in time creating and updating user accounts creating and managing the courses helping with the system related issues administrator is not allowed to interfere to teaching or grading process Role student is in relationship with the university as the consumer of the courses provided by the university. Student is currently enrolled in a study programme and his/her studies are currently not interrupted. Students responsibilities are: reacting on tutor messages and posts in time fulfilling properly course and university rules elaborating and submitting exercises properly prepared and on time reporting a problems with system or material to a tutor providing a feedback on the course, materials or e-learning environment to a tutor Faculty of Informatics is special role which connects all of aforementioned roles. Faculty is an educational institution which is in relationship with student, tutor and administrator and these roles have to follow rules of Faculty of Informatics in teaching process. Responsibilities of the Faculty are: finding an appropriate candidate for tutor of the course Marketing Strategy in Service Business signing a contract with this candidate finding a suitable person to be responsible for system administration and signing a contract with him/her getting a feedback on the course, materials, e-learning environment or tutoring and take it into an account in the next course run providing a technical background (server) for the course run 42

50 7. E-LEARNING COURSE IMPLEMENTATION 7.3 Course implementation Implementation of the course starts with choosing the best tool for e-learning support of the course PV216. Few LMS were considered before the implementation of the course. According to results of MoSCoW analysis, LMS Moodle was chosen for fulfilling the goals of the diploma thesis and e-learning management of the course Marketing Strategy in Service Business. There are several reasons for this decision: 1. Community the first reason is that Moodle has a large community of satisfied and diverse users with over registered users on the Moodle site, speaking over 78 languages in 207 countries [12]. Most of the users are using this tool for distance education and e-learning assistance at the university. Moodle has a lot of positive responses and satisfied referrals, reviews and comments are very encouraging to use this LMS. 2. Development Moodle is active application and it is being developed really fast the LMS builds are being released regularly on weekly basis. Instead of bug fixes, improvements and upgrades every week, also Moodle users are very active. There exists a lot of Moodle events, forums, and How to sites, which can be very helpful not only for e-learning beginners but also for experienced users as way to connect with other skilled users and find a solution to more challenging Moodle issues or sometimes just to chat and share experience with making e-learning more interesting. 3. Good experience in teaching process except personal good experience with this tool, Moodle is successfully used for different courses at different faculties across the Masaryk University. 4. Accessibility as opposed to Information System of Masaryk University, Moodle is accessible from outside of the university. It is easier for external tutor to get into the system. 5. Simplicity Moodle is also much more simple than complex Information System. Although Information System contains some e-learning tools, it contains much more functionality than just the e-learning, so it is more difficult for user to use. 6. No fees LMS Moodle can be downloaded and used for free, registration is optional just for the Moodle statistics about number of their users. As it can be seen on the picture below, with no initial costs LMS Return of Investments (ROI) number, which is used to measure effectivity of investment, is very favorable. 7. Fulfilling MoSCoW method according to previously performed MoSCoW analysis, key features for the LMS were identified. LMS Moodle contains all features which were identified as mandatory and also the features which were marked just like nice to have. 43

51 7. E-LEARNING COURSE IMPLEMENTATION 8. Documentation as was already mentioned, Moodle has really big community of users, and these users are helping together in case of any issues. In case a person wants to find some information about features in Moodle or in case of any troubles, he/she can find a help in Moodle documentation, Moodle forums or on different places on the web (including youtube videos or different specialized forums). Figure 7.1: Return of investments of particular LMS [14] After the choosing the right tool, next milestone of the thesis elaboration is to import materials which were used for the course in the past into the Moodle. Study materials and exercises are available in various forms: video, scanned articles from the books, mind maps, homework assignments, Prezi presentations or URL links. These materials are embedded into the one course in Moodle environment. Course is divided into ten lectures ordered the same way as they were taught in the live course. Lectures 2 10 contain materials used for the course PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business in Spring 2010 semester [22]. Lecture 1 was created for testing purposes and to show how Moodle treats different types of content. Installed and functioning Moodle system and all course materials are available on the website https://george.vps.websupport.sk/moodle/. Secure protocol https for encrypting data is used, so it is necessary to add security exception when page is loaded for the first time. To log into the Moodle, following user accounts and settings can be used : Username: tutor Password: tutor_1_test Description: Tutor account with possibilities to enroll a student into the course, edit the course settings, manage the course, start a discussion and so on. Username: student_1 Password: student_1_test Description: Student s account with possibilities to see all course materials, join the discussion, customize profile settings and so on. 44

52 7. E-LEARNING COURSE IMPLEMENTATION Figure 7.2: Screenshot from the current Moodle environment Username: student_2 Password: student_2_test Description: Same as the student_1. Username: student_3 Password: student_3_test Description: Student s account which is not enrolled in the course, to get same access rights as student_1 or student_2, student_3 has to be enrolled in the course by the tutor. Aforementioned attribute Description describes current settings of the course, permissions, access rights and settings for the subordinate roles can be easily managed by the tutor or the system administrator. At the moment, course is not available for guest users without a user account. One of the parts of the diploma thesis assignment is dealing with proposal of further changes to structure, materials, the teaching method and the way of evaluation of the course PV216 Marketing Strategy in Service Business. 45

53 7. E-LEARNING COURSE IMPLEMENTATION Structural changes The e-learning course Marketing Strategy in Service Business should stay divided in 10 lectures, every lecture takes approximately two hours. It should be taught on weekly basis instead of teaching blocks, main reason for this is that students will have enough time for preparation of their homework and projects. Changes in study materials Structure of study materials in particular lectures should be modified. In the current state, some lectures contain more than one exercise and some of them do not contain any. Students workload should be properly divided for all the lectures. A template for every lecture should be created, e.g. every lecture will contain one Prezi presentation with main content of the lecture, one article part of the book or research paper as supplementary reading and one exercise, connected to the theme of the lecture. With a structure like this, course plan will be clearer and students will have set more accurate expectations about every lecture. Another change in the study materials is considering Prezi presentations. This type of presentation is nowadays very popular and can be very useful in e-learning education. In the current state, presentations are placed in the e-learning system containing the executable file, which enables to start the presentation. This solution is not ideal, because every time student wants to see presentation, big amount of data has to be downloaded and executed. Executable files can be also problematic for students with other than Windows operating system. Proposed solution is to get presentations on the Prezi page online so they are not physically placed on the server. No executable files would be needed, thus this solution is not dependent on user s operating system. Presentations are embedded into the Moodle system in the same way as it is in the first lecture Testing section on Moodle environment Prezi presentation illustration. Changes in evaluation of students Proposed evaluation of the students is following: 40% of all points can be gained from project 40% of all points can be gained from homework (for homework after every lecture, student gains 4% for each of them) 20% of all points can be gained for student activity mainly activity in discussions, but also other activities like reading materials can be taken into consideration Grading should be following: A % B 92 85% C 84 77% 46

54 7. E-LEARNING COURSE IMPLEMENTATION D 76 69% E 68 60% F 59% and less Course will have same credit evaluation as it always had 5 credits, final project presentation should be considered as oral examination. 7.4 Time and place An e-learning course can take place in the same time as regular courses taught on the Faculty of Informatics. There are two possibilities of date for the teaching the course: 1. Spring semester with duration from February till May 2. Autumn semester with duration from September till December Physical place for the course run does not need to be necessarily set, although it could be a nice opportunity for the tutor to meet the students face to face either at the beginning of the course or for the course ending and evaluation. Moodle environment provides an opportunity to plan also some live lectures with invitation for all course participants. This is not a standard and expected behavior, so in this case tutor should do so just after mutual agreement with faculty and place for teaching would be found then. Data and Moodle installation should be placed on a server of the Faculty of Informatics or after mutual agreement with system administrator left fully in his/her competence. All lectures of the course will be performed online in the Moodle learning environment. 7.5 Critical factors of success E-learning support of the course is no guarantee that the course will be beneficial and useful. In previous chapters, there were mentioned many factors and the best practices which have to be considered in design of the e-learning course. Although course was designed with respect to these criteria, there are still some factors which cannot be influenced by the course design but mainly by the course participants Communication All agents which are involved in the e-learning course need to communicate. Communication is the key to successful tutoring and also to efficient team work. Marketing is the theme which is not about memorizing of some facts, it requires creative environment with mutual interaction of the users. E-learning tool can enable the communication or can make it more pleasant for the user, but key decision to write a post or a comment is still up to a user. 47

55 7. E-LEARNING COURSE IMPLEMENTATION Feedback and continuous improvement Continuous improvement of the course is the second key critical factor for the course success. Students should be encouraged to provide their opinion on the course not only at the end of the course but regularly as course material can be updated or altered in matter of few minutes due to flexibility of the e-learning. With this feedback, a tutor can adjust materials and topics during the whole course run and adapt them to particular situation Users approach As e-learning is just a tool, a user defines a way how this tool will be used. E-learning course provides a support for learning, but the student needs to be proactive and self-motivated enough to get the best of the course. User approach is one of the most probable failure points in the course structure. 48

56 Chapter 8 Conclusion Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing. Donna J. Abernathy The e-learning is widely used all over the world, but as it was already mentioned in the previous pages, it had been revealed that it suffers from the lack of good e-learning models, theories and the lack of professional pedagogical approaches. This thesis should bring a new approach for an e-learning course teaching. This approach is presented in the designed conceptual data models, use case diagrams and methodologies, used in the e-learning course preparation. Although the course Marketing Strategy in Service Business was implemented into the e- learning environment, this is just a beginning. The e-learning course has to be managed and regularly updated with the respect to the key factors of course success which were defined in the thesis. Now the main responsibility for the course lies on its tutor. Recommendations for the course run Few useful recommendations which can be used for further practice of the course: Communicate, communicate, communicate communication is the key to the interesting and useful course. Choose your students since the important part of the course is interactivity, do not be afraid of choosing just the students who will show interest for the topic. There exist a lot of e-learning courses in which student has to show an interest, for example by writing a short essay as an entrance test to the course. Use current trends and try a different study approaches e.g. so called gamification use the competitive elements for making the course more amusing. Get the e-learning from the level 1 to the level 2 improve e-learning of the course according to Chapman s definition. Moodle can be modified and customized in various ways. Example of how could Moodle environment look like is on the picture 8.1. Except this particular course, Moodle environment can be used also for supporting the other courses taught at the faculty, to follow the path of the world known universities. 49

57 8. CONCLUSION Figure 8.1: Example of the graphical interface for Moodle [23] 50

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